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Spurs Odyssey Europa Conference League Preview - Rennes v Spurs, 16.09.21

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Spurs' record in Europe:-
The official crest of Tottenham Hotspur
U.E.F.A Champions League
 P  W   D   L   F - A
45 19   9  17  82 - 68

(Finalists 2019)
European Cup
P   W   D   L   F - A
8   4   1   3  21 - 13
(Semi-Finalists 1962)
European Cup Winners Cup
P   W   D   L   F - A
33  20  5   8  65 - 34
(Winners 1963)
UEFA Cup/Europa League
 P    W   D   L   F - A
153  88  37  28  313-134 

(Winners 1972, 1984
 Finalists 1974)

Europa Conference League
 P    W   D   L   F - A
 2    1   0   1   3 - 1  
The official crest of Stade Rennais FC
 P   W   D   L   F - A
241 132 52  57  484-250

This is a momentous day - honest!

The very fact that we are playing a Group Stage game in a European competition (never mind the low status of the Europa Conference league) will give move us onto 80.5 co-efficient points - above Arsenal (80 points) who are out of Europe and therefore cannot add to their total for another year at least. Thus Spurs will move above their local rivals in the European rankings for the first time in 29 years! I told you it was momentous!

Commonly referred to as "Rennes", the full title of the club is Stade Rennais Football Club. Rennes is situated in Brittany and we have never met previously in competition. We have not often played French clubs, but one of our previous opponents was Rennes' close rivals Nantes who we played and beat 1-0 on aggregate in the 1971-2 UEFA Cup. Martin Peters scored our home goal. Perhaps significantly, we went on to win that trophy against Wolves in 1972. Here's hoping!

Rennes have qualified for the group stage of European competition for the fourth successive season. their qualification results from a sixth place finish last season despite a run of 5 consecutive league defeats in February and March this year. Currently, after 5 games, "Les Rennais" are moderately placed 11th in the table, having won 1, drawn 2 and lost 2 games. Indeed, they haven't scored in their last two games, which were 2-0 defeats to Angers and Reims.

Rennes are coached by 55-year-old Bruno Genesio, a Frenchman whose managerial career began in 1985 with Lyon, who are one of the other French teams we have played, although Genesio was not active when we last played Lyon in 2013. He did however coach Tanguy Ndombele during two seasons at Lyon. This is Genesio's second season with Rennes, having spent time in China with Beijing Guoan previously.

The club was founded 120 years ago and home games are played at Roazhon Park which can hold just under 30,000. Their biggest crowd of late was for the "Brittany derby" on 22nd August which they did win 1-0. Rennes beat Steffen Iversen's old club Rosenborg in the play-off round of this competition.

Rennes competed in the Champions League last season but finished bottom of Group E with just one point, losing at home and away to our next Premier League opponents and eventual Champions League winners Chelsea.

In March 2019 Rennes played Arsenal in the Europa League Round of 16. They won 3-1 at home, but lost the away leg 3-0. Arsenal were on their way to the final where they lost 4-1 to Chelsea. One of the Rennes scorers was Ismaila Sarr, who is once again lighting up the Premier League with Watford. Rennes' top scorer in league competition last season was Sehrou Guirassy, who scored 10 league goals. He has two goals to his name so far this season. Defender Naif Aguerd has also scored twice plus once for Morocco this season.

Spurs have never won in five previous trips to France. We are hampered for this short trip across the Channel with Lo Celso, Romero and Sanchez still unavailable and injuries to Son, Sessegnon and Eric Dier, none of whom have travelled. Japhet Tanganga will surely play, as he will be suspended for Sunday's meeting with Chelsea. Steven Bergwijn has travelled.

In our last game against Pacos de Ferreira, Harry Kane equalled Steve Perryman's record of 64 European appearances. Hugo Lloris has just two less appearances. Harry became our highest goalscorer in Europe a while ago and currently has 40 European goals, 17 ahead of previous record holder Jermain Defoe. Therefore, Harry's European tally for Spurs is just one behind his current figure of 41 England goals.

Takng our form at Selhurst Park into consideration, I feel foolhardy making a positive prediction, but I am doing that. Let's say 2-0 to Spurs, with Harry Kane to extend his scoring record and to become our record-holder in terms of European appearances. The game kicks off at 5.45pm UK time and is being shown on BT SPORTS. I am not travelling and will be reducing my away trips in Europe. There will be a post-match survey and report, but these may be delayed due to social commitments.

Our referee and his on-field team are from Turkey. Halis ÷zkahya has not refereed Spurs before, but has previous Europa League and Europa Conference League experience. VAR will not be in operation.

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